Academic freedom should not be misused to spread theories that opponents say lack scientific evidence.
Zoë Corbyn Nature News 19 March 2012
The University of Florence has launched an inquiry into the teaching activities of an academic who assisted on a course that denies the causal link between HIV and AIDS, and supervised students with dissertations on the same topic.
The Italian university's internal 'special commission' will examine the "teaching behaviour and responsibility" of molecular biologist Marco Ruggiero, a university spokesman told Nature.
The move follows a letter to the institution's rector, Alberto Tesi, by an Italian campaign group called the HIV Forum, which represents people infected with HIV and others concerned about the disease. It calls on him to disassociate the university from the "science and activities" of Ruggiero, who, the group says, is "internationally known" for denying the widely accepted link between HIV and AIDS, and promotes a potential cure for HIV involving an enriched probiotic yoghurt for which there is no proven evidence.